Consequences ‘Deadly,’ As More TN Hospitals Close

From News Channel 5:

For the last 44 years McKenzie Regional Hospital has served as a lifeline for this small rural community of just 5,000 people but that will change on Saturday night as the hospital is set to close its doors at midnight.

Officials here say the consequences will be deadly.

It is a reality facing dozens of rural hospitals across the state of Tennessee, some of them privately run while others are county funded. At McKenzie Regional, the hospital’s owners Tennova Healthcare lost $3 million on this facility last year. Over the course of the last four years the 45-bed hospital has made negative $12 million, leaving the company with no other option but to shut the emergency room.

What’s the cause?

“New musical about E.R. is curative, cathartic and anything but sedative”

From the Times:

A reviewer’s dream is to discover a creation that is new and really good. All right, I can’t take credit for its discovery, but “Emergency!,” a new musical set in a hospital emergency room, is really, really good, and I’ll bet the cost of a gurney it’s going places.

This laugh-till-you-cough and sometimes-cry slice of life occurs during one day. It is young Dr. Marks’ (Cole Winston) first day at work for a new E.R., and he seeks to prove himself to the hospital’s hiring department and earn a coveted internship.

“I don’t know how to make friends,” he tells a colleague, explaining that he had always been busy studying. His only support this first morning comes in the form of his mother (a funny Katie Malish), the exuberantly proud parent “of a doctor!”

A real-life emergency-medicine doctor, Jeff Foy, wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book with his son Jacob, a sophomore in theater at Indiana University, who also wrote the music. Dr. Foy had wanted to write a medical musical for years.

Trial by Fire: Critics Demand That a Huge Sepsis Study Be Stopped

From the NY Times:

A large government trial comparing treatments for a life-threatening condition called sepsis is putting participants at risk of organ failure and even death, critics charge, and should be immediately shut down.

A detailed analysis of the trial design prepared by senior investigators at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., concluded that the study “places seriously ill patients at risk without the possibility of gaining information that can provide benefits either to the subjects or to future patients.”

In a letter to the federal Office for Human Research Protection, representatives of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group compared the study, called Clovers, to “an experiment that would be conducted on laboratory animals.”

Researchers successfully train employees to respond to opioid overdose, administer naloxone

From MDLinx:

A small study shows that business managers and staff—such as those running coffee shops and fast-food restaurants—can be trained to reverse opioid overdoses, which are known to occur in public bathrooms.

Following the training, participants had significantly more knowledge about opioid overdoses, as well as more positive attitudes about their competence and readiness to intervene in the event of an overdose. One participant reported “feeling confident and equipped to be an agent in saving someone’s life” and another said addressing an overdose “seems a lot less scary now.” Many employees believed that it would be beneficial for staff to be trained as part of company policy—similar to how employees are trained on food safety.

Opioid-controlled substance agreements safely reduce health care visits

From MDLinx:

The medical community has long known that patients on long-term opioid therapy often have significantly more health care visits. But adhering to a standardized care process model for opioid prescriptions appears to reduce the overall number of health care visits for these patients while maintaining safety, shows new research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Enrollment in an opioid controlled substance agreement appeared to significantly reduce primary care visits while not increasing use of emergency department services, researchers found. Conversely, the researchers noted that radiology visits increased during the observation period.

Illinois Supreme Court: Hospitals’ property tax exemption is constitutional

From Becker’s:

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Sept. 21 that non-profit hospitals in the state do not have to pay property taxes as long as the value of the charitable services they provide is equal to or greater than the taxes they would have paid, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The ruling was an affirmation of a lower court decision that previously upheld the constitutionality of the property tax exemption, which was challenged in the lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Revenue by Cook County taxpayer Constance Oswald.

Meet Hal, the Pediatric Patient Simulator

From Boing Boing

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HAL not only looks like a boy, he behaves like one. He can track a finger with his eyes, answer questions, cry for his mother and experience anaphylactic shock. He can even breathe faster and/or urinate when scared. And he has also been built in a way that allows doctors and nurses in-training to perform a myriad of tests such as taking blood pressure, checking his pulse and monitoring breathing. Trainees can also use real medical equipment such as an EKG machine or a heart or blood pressure monitor—or tools such as a scalpel or breathing tubes—to perform realistic medical procedures.